HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed: “The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science demonstrates our leadership in tackling the challenge of global water stress and devising the innovative solutions needed to aid people at risk around the world”
UAE continues to lead global research and scientific enquiry through innovative program designed to boost water security globally
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 18 January 2018 – Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the awardees of the Third Cycle of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science were announced and honored at an exclusive ceremony held as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2018.
Several ministers, VIPs, and senior officials attended the ceremony including His Excellency Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs in the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the National Center of Meteorology, His Excellency Eng Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Industry, His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, His Excellency Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, Her Excellency Mariam Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Food Security, His Excellency Faris Mohammed Ahmed Suhail Al Mazrouei, Adviser to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohamed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Health Department, His Excellency Eng Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Department of Energy, His Excellency Falah Al Ahbabi, Director General of Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, as well as a number of prominent scientists, researchers, and enthusiasts.
Three researchers from the USA, China and Russia, respectively were named as awardees of the US $5 million grant offered by the Program. His Excellency Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs in the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the National Center of Meteorology awarded the three researchers.
Reflecting on the impact of the Program, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said: “The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science demonstrates our leadership in strengthening global water security and devising the innovative solutions needed to aid people around the world at risk of water stress.
“Through this bold and ambitious initiative, we are also fulfilling the equally important goal of developing the capacities of the UAE's knowledge economy while encouraging and supporting productive international research collaboration.”
“It is imperative for all of us to devote our resources and employ creative thinking to secure sustainable supplies of clean water. As rapidly expanding populations place increasing pressure on limited water sources, the UAE is playing a dynamic and imaginative role in advancing the science and technology needed to ensure water for all in need.”
In his key-note address during today's ceremony, His Excellency Ahmed Jumaa Al Zaabi stressed that the UAE is devoted in its efforts to find innovative and sustainable solutions to address the issue of water security in collaboration with top scientists, researchers and leading institutions in this vital domain. Moreover, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science achieved tremendous successes in building bridges of collaboration with major research institutions, and attracting leading scientists to share their ideas, research, innovations and knowledge, allowing for new and viable solutions to the challenge of global water scarcity.
His Excellency Al Zaabi added: “Within a short time, this pioneering initiative has demonstrated its significance in providing innovative solutions to address global water security issues. We hope that by combining our efforts, we will turn the outstanding ideas presented within this program from across the world into successful projects that benefit us all.”
A testament to the Program's outstanding success to date, 2017's Third Cycle call for research proposals led to the submission of 201 pre-proposals involving the input of 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions spread across 68 countries.
The awardees of the Third Cycle were selected following international best practice through assessment by expert reviewers who evaluated all proposals, according to very strict criteria and complete confidentiality. At the Final Evaluation Meeting in October 2017, a 10-member committee, supported by 16 anonymous ad-hoc expert reviewers, selected this year's final awardees based on confidential reports on each research proposal.
The three awarded scientists leading the research teams that will share this cycle's grant of US$5 million are:
- Professor Eric Frew, of the University of Colorado, for his project dealing with targeted observation and seeding using autonomous unmanned aircraft systems.
- Dr Lulin Xue, of the Hua Xin Chuang Zhi Science and Technology LLC in China, for a project entitled “Using Advanced Experimental - Numerical Approaches to Untangle Rain Enhancement (UAE-NATURE)”.
- And Dr Ali Abshaev, of the Hail Suppression Research Center in Russia, for a project examining the creation of updrafts for the formation of artificial clouds and rainfall.
His Excellency Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), said: “In keeping with our leadership's vision of a knowledge-based economy, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science was launched to promote global water security through rain enhancement research. Advances in the science and implementation related to this field are offering an increasingly viable and technically feasible method of replenishing and boosting existing water supplies. Together, the Program's awardees are already breaking new ground in developing solutions applicable to regions subject to arid regions and beyond”.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were awardees from the first two cycles of this innovative UAE initiative. The First Cycle's awardees are already carrying out ground-breaking work on innovative algorithms, nanotechnology and land cover modification, ice production processes in cumulus clouds, aerosols' role in precipitation enhancement and electrical properties of clouds.
Launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in the UAE, and managed by the NCM, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is an internationally-recognized initiative offering a grant of 5 million US dollars to be shared by up to five winning research proposals.
Since the Program was launched, an ambitious international outreach campaign has engaged with 1,220 researchers and 520 institutions from more than 68 countries. Key global institutions engaged during successive and successful roadshows include the United Nations, the European Commission, the World Meteorological Organisation, NASA, Harvard and Princeton. In addition, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science also built enduring links through its roadshows with numerous governmental and private research institutions in countries ranging from the United States to the UK and Germany in Europe to Thailand, China and Japan in East Asia.
ADSW 2018 is also hosting the Second International Forum on Rain Enhancement. This three-day event provides a platform for discussion on the newly awarded research projects from the Program's Third Cycle as well as updates on breakthroughs made by the First and Second Cycle projects. Last year's Forum was a notable success that featured a productive exchange of ideas on potential innovations that could help assist the quest for global water security.
The Program's globally acclaimed success has confirmed the status of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a pioneer in this scientific field. By serving as a hub for an internationally recognized research network, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is moving from strength to strength by facilitating the active knowledge transfers needed to ensure sustainable development and economic growth in those regions of the world vulnerable to aridity and water shortages.